Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater has plan to unsnarl traffic around courthouse

CLEARWATER — Ever since the new Memorial Causeway Bridge turned Court Street into Clearwater's main route to the beach, the traffic and the pedestrian crossings around the Pinellas County Courthouse have been a bit of a mess.

City officials decided Monday to embark on a $722,000 project to rectify that.

Between November and March, they will reconfigure crosswalks, add turn lanes and adjust the timing of traffic lights on the cluster of roads surrounding the courthouse: Court and Chestnut streets, and Fort Harrison, Osceola and Oak avenues. The county government will pay half the cost.

"We're going to have devices to herd pedestrians to the proper crossing points," city traffic operations manager Paul Bertels told the Clearwater City Council.

The four-month project will:

• Widen the sidewalk in front of the courthouse to 21 from 7 feet on the south side of Court Street.

• Put traffic guards and chains along that sidewalk to channel pedestrians crossing Court Street to two spots at Osceola and Oak avenues.

• Put in dual southbound left-turn lanes from Oak Avenue to Chestnut Street to help clear out the afternoon rush-hour traffic leaving the courthouse.

• Install a traffic light at Court and Osceola to help pedestrians cross Court Street safely. Also, replace an old traffic signal at Court and Oak with a sturdier mast-arm signal.

• Create a pedestrian crossing at Chestnut and Palm Avenue.

• Install a mast-arm traffic signal on Court Street east of Garden Avenue with overhead signs directing drivers into a new arrangement of traffic lanes. Heading west on Court, there will be a right-turn-only lane approaching Fort Harrison Avenue, as well as two through lanes. A fourth lane will be a combination of a through lane and left-turn lane.

Once all of this is done, the city will tweak the timing of traffic signals so that Court and Chestnut streets get a longer green light than Fort Harrison Avenue, which crosses them. That's meant to help beach traffic move through, Bertels said.

City Council members had questions for Bertels. They wanted to make sure all this work would fix their pet peeves regarding traffic around the courthouse.

Paul Gibson wants the traffic lights on Fort Harrison Avenue to be better synchronized. John Doran hopes a right-turn lane from Court Street to Fort Harrison will reduce the number of drivers who race down the right-hand lane of Court and then veer left in front of other cars on Court that have been waiting at that traffic light.

Mayor Frank Hibbard wants to make sure the new traffic signals on Court Street won't slow down spring break beach traffic, which can back up on Court and block Fort Harrison Avenue. "Everything starts to fail, especially between Court and Chestnut, when that gets too loaded," he said.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4160.

Clearwater has plan to unsnarl traffic around courthouse 09/29/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 5:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation


    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.